Established in 2011, the Film Africa Baobab Award for Best Short Film exists to recognise and support emerging filmmaking across Africa and its diaspora. The Award consists of a £1,500 cash prize and is judged by an expert jury of filmmakers and industry professionals. Film Africa considers all submitted short films that meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Short must be 30 minutes or under and made by African or African diaspora filmmaker.
- Director must not yet have made a feature-length film – i.e. emphasis is on emerging talent.
- Short must be fiction/experimental – documentaries will only be considered for the main programme.
- Year of production must be a maximum of two years prior to the date of submission.
Film Africa has a programme partnership with the National Film & Television School to select the Baobab Award, which is ultimately aimed at encouraging an appreciation and knowledge of African cinema in the next generation of film programmers. With guidance from the Film Africa team, students on the MA in Film Studies, Programming & Curation watch all submitted shorts and provide our festival programmers with a long-list of 100 from which the final shortlist is then selected.
The eighth Baobab Award for Best Short film went to Bariga Sugar by young writer, producer and director Ifeoma Chukwuogo from Nigeria. Set in a brothel compound in Lagos, Bariga Sugar tells the story of a tender friendship between Jamil and Ese, the children of two sex workers.
The 2018 Baobab Award jury members – filmmakers Shola Amoo and Cecile Emeke and Talent Development Executive Matimba Kabalika – had this to say about the winning film:
“We were incredibly impressed by the humanity and warmth brought to the characters in Bariga Sugar. As a director and writer Ifeoma displayed incredible control, creating a genuinely rich tonality to the narrative. We would love to see what a feature-length piece of work would look like and hope this award supports her on that journey.”
In response to her win, director Ifeoma Chukwuogo said:
“I am incredibly thrilled that Bariga Sugar was chosen to receive this award. Thank you to the esteemed jury for this honour, to the Film Africa team for including Bariga Sugar in this year’s program, and to the audience for receiving it so wonderfully.”